Today, Tues., at 12:15 P.M. mass in my parish, the celebrating priest, after distributing communion to the EMHC’s, did not himself distribute communion to the congregation. He stood in front of the presider’s chair and sang the communion hymn, “One Bread, One Body,” along with the children who formed the choir. It was a mass in which the children of the parish school were all present. Many of the parents able to come to noon mass on a Tues. were also present, along with all of the usual people who regularly attend noon masses at the parish. So the church was pretty full and it was not at all inappropriate to have EMHC’s. However, I thought the presiding priest was always supposed to participate in the distribution of the Eucharist. Is this so? Is this a liturgical abuse?
Redemptionis Sacramentum (emphasis added):
[88.] The faithful should normally receive sacramental Communion of the Eucharist during Mass itself, at the moment laid down by the rite of celebration, that is to say, just after the Priest celebrant’s Communion. It is the Priest celebrant’s responsibility to minister Communion, perhaps assisted by other Priests or Deacons; and he should not resume the Mass until after the Communion of the faithful is concluded. Only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the Priest celebrant in accordance with the norm of law.
[157.] If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.
Unless the priest celebrant is ill or frail there is no reason for him not to distribute communion.